Sun in parts of UK and France blocked out the smoke from wildfires in Spain and Portugal

People in much of UK and western France woke up this morning to an eerie sight: the sky covered in thick orange and brownish smoke, with the Sun nearly or completely obscured. some compared it even to a Solar eclipse!

Smoke plume being pushed NNE-wards ahead of the post-tropical cyclone Ophelia early afternoon today, October 16. Image: NASA Terra / MODIS.

Parts of Spain and Portugal are experiencing extreme fires, caused by a combination of a dry spring and summer and likely arson. The thick smoke was advected by southerly winds into the Bay of Biscay, northwestern France (Brittany) and across the United Kingdom. Residents of this area awoke to a dark orange and brown sky, with the Sun either completely blocked or strongly subdued. While smoke from fires being blown large distances is not rare, it is rare for it to be so thick.

Another view of Ophelia and the massive smoke plume, October 16. Image: NASA Terra / MODIS.

In addition, Saharan dust was also advected by the same southerly winds from NW Africa into western Europe – including NW France and the United Kingdom – further adding to the already thick smoke.

University of Athens SKIRON model forecast for dust load across the Mediterranean region mid-day October 16.

Some sights from northern Spain, Brittany and the UK this morning:

Dim orange skies over Caen, NW France. 5 pm, Oct 16. Photo: François Raulin.

Orange skies over Gijón, Asturias, N Spain this afternoon, Oct 16. Report: El tiempo en Cádiz‏.

Sunrise in Gijón, N Spain today (Oct 16), about 80 km from a massive fire – the sky is completely obscured by thick smoke. Report: Adán Shennan Farpón.

Mateo López García sends this spectacular dramatic picture of yellowish sky in Grau, Asturieas, NW of Spain.

Alex Symons sends this amazing yellowish sky over Guernsey, UK.




Eerie orange skies also over Brittany, NW France this afternoon, Oct 16. Report: Observatoire Keraunos.


Daniel Ardley reports spectacular skies also from London, England. At 3pm today in London, the sky turned dark orange.


Sun through thick smoke over Ipswich, UK today (Oct 16). Photo: Carl Harlott.